Restoring more than 14,000 wetland acres in Upper Klamath NWR

Ducks Unlimited is assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with a more than 14,000-acre wetland restoration project on Upper Klamath NWR and adjacent lands.


Upper Klamath NWR is located in Klamath County, Oregon, and consists of over 23,000 acres of freshwater marsh habitat. DU is assisting with restoration efforts on the Barnes and Agency Units of the NWR as well as surrounding private lands under a USFWS easement.

The project area was historically lake fringe wetland habitat and was influenced by natural fluctuations of water in the adjacent Agency and Upper Klamath Lakes. During the 1900s, the project area was leveed-off from the lake, channelized and drained for haying and livestock grazing operations. DU has been tasked with assisting with engineering design and permitting to restore the hydrology of the leveed-off farmlands and reconnect them with the historic lake influence, improving wetland habitat.

Proposed design features include restoring historic creek channels to restore fish habitat, constructing a water treatment wetland to reduce nutrient inputs into Agency and Upper Klamath Lakes, and partially breaching the perimeter levee to allow for lake influence into the wetland areas. Once completed, this project will restore waterfowl and waterbird habitat, restore and improve habitat for federally listed fish species, restore historic creek flow paths to improve fish passage, improve water quality in Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes, and expand water storage of these lakes.

Klamath Wildlife Area Miller Island Unit project continues

DU has secured funding from NAWCA and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODWF) to replace a water diversion structure at one of ODFW’s legal points of diversion along the Klamath River and relocate three fish screens adjacent to this new structure. This project will improve water delivery to enhance 60 acres of wetlands and 53 acres of wetland-associated uplands on Miller Island that provide important habitat for waterfowl and other waterbirds.

This work will eliminate the likelihood of entraining resident and anadromous fish from the Klamath River onto Miller Island when ODFW diverts water for habitat management purposes.

Construction of the new diversion structure and concrete base on which the fish screens will be placed has been completed. ODFW has removed the fish screens and is currently in the process of refurbishing them which are expected to be completed this spring.